Blair Benefield said adventure and board sports had helped him find a purpose in life.

Four years ago the Mount Maunganui man was medically discharged from the New Zealand Army-Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment after suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and severe depression.

"Last year was one of the darkest times in my life as I was deep into depression," Benefield said.

Benefield said he knew he had lost his "will to live" when the thought of ending his life no longer terrified him.


"I tried many of the treatments, antidepressants, counselling, group therapy but nothing seemed to work," he said.

"I became antisocial, uncontactable, reclusive and eventually suicidal."

But when the 32-year-old had the idea of Ride Against Depression, involving skateboarding the length of New Zealand, things started to look brighter.

"Skating is my therapy. It's great exercise and really good for my mental health, it just makes me feel really good," Benefield said.

The journey will start in Stewart Island next weekend where Benefield will make his way right up to Cape Reinga sharing his story and raising funds for mental health services along the way.

A Givealittle page has been set up and more than $3000 donated in less than a week, which will be donated to No Duff Charitable Trust, Youthline and Good Neighbour Trust.

8 Feb, 2018 12:12pm
3 minutes to read

Benefield said he was "going big" with a target of raising $150,000 on his ride.

"I know that's a lot of money ... This is going to be awesome," he said.

Benefield, who works as a landscaper, shared the idea of Ride Against Depression on his Facebook page on January 31 and has received hundreds of messages of support and offers for places to stay on his ride.

"I am so incredibly humbled by all the love and support I have received."

He said he was "blown away" by the number of people who had opened up to him about their own mental health struggles.

"It has shown me how amazing our country really is and it has also highlighted how important the issue of mental health is," he said.

There was no exact route planned for the journey and Benefield said he would see where the road took him after getting offers to visit different towns and to work with schools around mental health awareness.

"This experience is almost like rehab for me. I want people to see that you can pull through depression," Benefield said.

"I want this journey to inspire anyone that is struggling with depression to not suffer in silence. I'm sharing my story to get the word out there and to Ride Against Depression."

To donate to Blair's ride visit